School cruelty victims seek £2m

Former pupils of the school at the centre of Norfolk's biggest ever child cruelty case are to seek nearly £2m in total compensation.Sixty-one people involved in the Banham Marshalls child cruelty scandal are suing the late George Robson and his widow Sheena, who traded as Banham Marshalls Services, for the abuse they suffered.

Former pupils of the school at the centre of Norfolk's biggest ever child cruelty case are to seek nearly £2m in total compensation.

Sixty-one people involved in the Banham Marshalls child cruelty scandal are suing the late George Robson and his widow Sheena, who traded as Banham Marshalls Services, for the abuse they suffered.

Robson, who was convicted of a catalogue of abuse against children in his care, died of heart failure last November the day after he was given a two-year suspended prison sentence at Norwich Crown Court.

Solicitor Andrew Grove, who is representing 37 former pupils, was at Cambridge County Court on Friday where judge Patrick O'Brien set directions for how the civil claims case should proceed.


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It is understood the former pupils involved in a group litigation order will seek compensation through Banham Marshalls Services' insurer Norwich Union rather than making a direct claim on Robson's estate.

Mr Grove said the ex-students are each likely to seek between around £20,000 and £40,000 depending on the severity of their individual cases, potentially taking the total figure sought to £1.8m.

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He said many continue to suffer. “Many of them are scarred for life,” he said. “We have seen incredible resilience, but some of them are completely wrecked psychologically. A lot of their stories are very harrowing and to have this triggered off again reminds them of what happened.”

The former pupils involved were not required to be in court.

Mr Grove explained that it could take up to two years for the claims to go through the court system and added: “It is at the early stages, but the framework is there to process these claims.”

The remaining 24 cases are being handled by David Greenwood of Jordans solicitors in Wakefield.

Last October more than a decade of systematic and brutal abuse of vulnerable children was revealed after a three-year media blackout was lifted.

The abuse occurred at Banham Marshalls College, formerly the Old Rectory School, which was owned and founded by George Robson.

Robson, 66, of The Street, Bridgham, his brother Anthony Robson, 63, of Mill Road, Banham, and David Clarke, 56, also of Mill Road, Banham, were all convicted of child cruelty after the court heard they subjected pupils to brutal and systematic abuse over more than a decade.

Two other men Robert Wilson and Derek Holesworth were cleared of similar charges.

During the trial it was said the defendants carried out “deliberate acts of cruelty” including beatings which went far beyond even the strict standards of corporal punishment.

Among the brutal acts carried out at the school were pupils being goaded into fighting one another and being forced to eat their own vomit.

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